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VOL. 127 | NO. 31 | Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pinnacle Awards To Honor City’s Best in CRE

By Sarah Baker

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Amid the lukewarm commercial real estate climate, a little recognition goes a long way.

That’s why the Memphis Area Association of Realtors Commercial Council is well under way in planning the 11th annual Pinnacle Awards ceremony, a night dedicated to showcasing commercial real estate industry professionals in the Memphis area.

Award recipients will be honored at an April 24 ceremony at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis, 3700 Central Ave. Winners will be announced in the April 26 issue of The Daily News and the April 28 issue of The Memphis News.

The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc., parent company of The Daily News and The Memphis News, is again sponsoring the Pinnacle Awards.

Started in 2002, the Pinnacle Awards honor the highest-producing commercial brokers in Memphis for the previous year in a number of categories, including Broker and Newcomer of the Year, as well as an inductee to the Commercial Hall of Fame.

This year’s theme is “More Than a Decade of Excellence, a Society of Top Producers and a Huge Community Impact.” All commercial brokers who hold membership in the Commercial Council are encouraged to submit an application by 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17.

“I’ve gotten some questions from people who have never applied before, so that’s good,” said Steve Guinn, co-chair of the Pinnacle Awards. “Usually, we get 30 percent new applications or more, as far as new people coming in. Some years, people that you would think would have a really big year don’t, and sometimes, others that you wouldn’t think have a big year do, so you just never know until you get all of the applications in and see how the numbers shake out.”

At last year’s ceremony, MAAR presented 23 Pinnacle Elite awards, given to the highest-producing commercial brokers based on sales and leasing activities in 2010. Their 2010 transactions exceeded $843 million, a 30 percent increase from 2009’s sales volume of $651.2 million.

Last year’s event was totally revamped from previous years’ with a new format that allowed additional people to be recognized. The Pinnacle Producers Club recognized brokers that achieved at least $2 million in production, and Pinnacle Elite categories were introduced, a change well-received by brokers in all sectors that will be continued this year.

For the office and industrial sectors, the landlord and tenant representation categories were split up, making a total of eight awards. In addition, deals were no longer double counted if a co-broker was involved.

“For the first year, I think it went real well,” Guinn said. “We do a pretty extensive poll of everyone that chooses to participate after the event, and overall, we had positive comments. So, we’re not really changing anything from last year. We’re not increasing the $2 million mark. The economy is still somewhat down, so we didn’t think it really made much sense to do that.”

The new method of spreading the wealth benefits those companies that are very specific and have defined roles within certain sectors, as well as those that wear many hats, said Pinnacle Awards co-chair Greg deWitt.

“If you’re an office landlord representative, you’re an office landlord representative and you don’t do anything else,” deWitt said. “However, there are lots of other folks who, say, will do a little bit of office leasing for a landlord, they’ll do some tenant representation, they might sell a piece of dirt somewhere because they have a relationship with somebody else. Now that it’s $2 million worth of activity, that pretty much says, ‘You know what, you’re in commercial real estate, you’re doing commercial real estate and you ought to be acknowledged for doing so.’”

The 2012 ceremony will also include the presentation of a Legacy Award, which posthumously honors a commercial real estate practitioner who had tremendous influence on the local industry. Past recipients include Robert G. Snowden, J. Bayard Boyle Sr., William B. Clark Sr., Kemmons Wilson and Philip Belz.

“We’ve had some really interesting Legacy Award winners over the years,” Guinn said. “I think it’s something that really gives the event an extra punch, if you will, that’s something that people really like.”

Also continued into this year’s program is the Community Impact Award, given to a company that has made a significant impact to the Memphis area’s economic development through commercial real estate. Last year, Pinnacle Airlines Corp. was given the honor, in recognition of the company’s substantial investment in Memphis as a partner.

“The award is given to a company that’s helped in commercial real estate by helping Memphis in putting up infrastructure and bricks and mortar here and making an investment in this community,” deWitt said. “It’s us being able to show them, ‘Hey, listen, we know that you’ve done it, we know that you’ve gotten accolades in other areas, but we just want you to know that from the commercial real estate community, we appreciate your business’s investment in Memphis and Memphis’ future.’”

Applications are available at www.maar.org/pinnacleawards for download. Questions can be directed to Aubrie Kobernus, aubrie.kobernus@maar.org.

Awards submissions are confidentially submitted to Buddy Dearman of Dixon Hughes PLLC, a local CPA firm. The anonymity is a large reason applicants are so comfortable in submitting their production information.

PROPERTY SALES 56 56 9,658
MORTGAGES 49 49 10,665
BUILDING PERMITS 212 212 21,170
BANKRUPTCIES 49 49 6,157